Perhaps the most important event of the Church is the Death, Burial and Resurrection of Jesus. This is where the church truly gets its start.
If you look at the previous 4,000 years of history you see God has been working his followers leading to this event –
- Noah found Grace in the eyes of God
- Abraham, the Father of Many Nations must sacrifice his only son as God commands (Gen 22)
- Moses is born in captivity, but through the hand of God becomes the one that will lead the captive out of bondage
- Joshua will be the ultimate leader of Israel into the land of promise
- Various judges and kings will pick up the mantle when needed.
- David, the one who was noted as being after God’s own heart.
- Prophets played important roles of communicating to the people for God
This list is almost endless. God has worked with thousands over the 4,000 years of the Old Testament.
The time of the New Testament opens with a narrowed playing field.
- Zacharias, the father of John, the forerunner of the Messiah
- John, wearing camel’s hair and wandering the wilderness, preaching about the coming Messiah.
- Mary – the mother, Joseph – the father
- Jesus – God robed in flesh to be the propitiation for our sins (1Jn 2:2)
In fact, let’s look at what the revelator says about Jesus.
Joh 1:1-17 KJV In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (2) The same was in the beginning with God. (3) All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. (4) In him was life; and the life was the light of men. (5) And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. (6) There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. (7) The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. (8) He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. (9) That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. (10) He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. (11) He came unto his own, and his own received him not. (12) But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: (13) Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. (14) And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. (15) John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me. (16) And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace. (17) For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.
John shows the vast expanse of time – from the Beginning, all the way to Jesus Christ. Matthew records his genealogy. Regardless of how you look at it, God has had a plan since the Garden of Eden to redeem his creation back to himself.
Jesus came to give his life as the sacrificial lamb for the atonement of sin for all mankind. Even sinners recognized him for who he was.
Mar 15:37-39 KJV And Jesus cried with a loud voice, and gave up the ghost. (38) And the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom. (39) And when the centurion, which stood over against him, saw that he so cried out, and gave up the ghost, he said, Truly this man was the Son of God.
Joseph of Arimathaea asked for the body of Jesus and put him in a new tomb. Nicodemus brought a 100 lbs of myrrh and aloes for anointing the body of Jesus. But they have no time to complete their ministrations. They day is ending and Passover is about to begin.
Can you imagine his followers during their normal Passover Seder and normal routine of life on this most important day? Passover was the preparation when Israel was in captivity in Egypt, and before their release from bondage. As they took their spotless sacrifice, they prepared to leave Egypt. The firstborn of every household that was not covered by the blood of the lamb would die when the death angel passed over Egypt.
It required a blood sacrifice of a spotless lamb to protect them.
Jesus is that sacrifice planned from before the foundation of the world (1 Peter 1:20). He is that spotless lamb (1 Peter 1:19). John, the forerunner cries out with a loud voice as he identifies Jesus, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” (John 1:29) The resurrection is when the sacrifice has been received and the Grace of God opens to every race, creed and nation – in fact, all are allowed into his covenant.
4,000 years is a long time to narrow down to this one day!
The day after Passover, on that first day of the week, they slowly trickle to the tomb where Jesus had been laid to finish up what they could not do as Passover began.
Their focus was to complete the preparing of the body for burial.
Yet they find something surprising… The stone in front of the tomb has been rolled away. The tomb is empty. The grave clothes are lying as if they were still covering the body – but Jesus was Gone!
He was not in the tomb…
Between the Passover and the Ascension, Jesus ministers to and teaches his followers. As he leaves the earth he gives them their mission and commission.
Reach this world!
Then we see the working hand of God on the early church as noted in the Acts, and the corresponding Epistles.
- Where the OT covers 4,000 years, the NT covers about 120 years.
- During this 120 year period we see this funneling act has brought a narrowed focus upon a smaller subset of players, but a larger potential audience.
Consider Paul writing to Titus in the Pastoral Epistles, giving him personal instruction. We read it today and comprehend the ministry of Titus, assigned to the church in Crete.
- Paul is dealing with the one, for the many. What is the power of this one? Titus is one of those who was taking the Great Commissions and Mission of Christ and reaching the World.
I finally get to my point for this Resurrection Sunday.
The story is not about everybody else -It is about you. It is about me.
Much like the 12 sitting at the last supper with Jesus, when he gives the bread and wine that represents his blood and body, it is like he reaches down the table through time – all the where I am today…
And he gives it to me personally.
What am I going to do with it?
This is a personal time, with a personal question, for each of us today.
What are you going to do with this Resurrection Hope today? It is not simply that you have this day to spend on bunny rabbits and egg hunts and some nice dinner and family celebration. Much like that first Passover, you need to enjoy the reason for this Passover, but be dressed and prepared to leave… And be ready to share what you have from God.
There is something more to this Resurrection Sunday than all the trappings of the traditions of man. It is a very personal time and it concerns you.
Just as Jesus questions Peter, saying, “Who do men say that I am?” Jesus is speaking to us today, “What is the world saying about me?” Jesus was not only interested in what others think and say, but then he personally asks Peter, “Who do YOU say that I am?”
This is a personal choice.
Today is the right day, the right time, and the right service.
What are you going to do about Easter?